Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina's Diaries

About TATU

"About 3 years ago, Ivan Nikolaevich (Shapovalov) and I decided to make a music project. Organized the casting. We chose by level of talent, and at the last audition, there were about 10 girls left. And out of these 10 girls, Katina and Volkova were the best. I was always on Katina's side, Vanya, on the other hand, always liked Volkova better. He doubted her, though. So, we decided to go with Katina. At that time, Yugoslavia was bombarded. And our brothers and sisters lived there. They were standing on a bridge, in Belgrad, and the bombs were dropped on them. They died. I wrote this song, 'Yugoslavia', and was trying to release it to the public. One businessman gave us money for the project. Vanya came back and asked me, 'What? How?' He said that everything was OK. But the song was never heard on the radio... And then, for some reason, Vanya started to insist that we should get another girl. We did not know which girl we should get, and from where. But he simply said, 'We need another one. With two girls, it's more lively. And if one goes, then we can always get another one.' So they started to sing together. The songs were still straight when I worked on the project. But later... they changed the orientation in favor of business interests, and as it turned out, they were right."
Alexander Voitinskyi. 2001 г.

The duo with the mysterious name "Tatu" appeared out of the blue. Like an explosion. Actually, nobody even knew what it was. There was only this song, "Ya Soshla S Uma", that soared right to the top of Russian hit charts in Autumn 2000. Two schoolgirls kissing under the rain fascinated and aroused the audience at the same time, bringing a new stream of music into showbusiness.

"Tatu" was formed by producer Ivan Shapovalov at the dawn of the year 2000. To be honest, the people that had anything to do with this group were not professionals from the world of showbusiness. Even the two principal characters, Lena and Yulia, entered this project purely by chance. Both were childhood friends. And both were a part of the children's band "Neposedi", from which Yulia was expulsed due to inappropriate behavior.

Yulia Volkova was born on February 20, 1985, in Moscow. She first went to school № 882, and then to school № 1113 with special classes for music students. She studied ballroom dancing, figure skating, swimming and tennis with the aid of a personal trainer. She is the daughter of a businessman. Her character is unbending and filled with purpose. She likes discovering new things and completely loves BMWs. She likes to criticize herself--she proclaimed that she was mad in front of the whole country. She loves to shock people, and to use the word "unreal", while constantly insisting that there is nothing unrealistic. She is friendly. She thinks that if one cannot try all the things in life, then one should try as many things as one possibly can.

Lena Katina was born on October 4, 1984, in Moscow. She went to school № 457. She studied artistic gymnastics, ballroom dancing, figure skating, swimming and horseback-riding. She is the daughter of a musician. She has a gentler character then Yulia, but Yulia herself thinks that she is less practical then Lena. Lena is romantic, very friendly, and open-minded. She loves to read Dostoyevski. Like Yulia, she loves to criticize herself (she is convinced that she is mad). She loves expression (inexplicable crazy laughter and/or tears triggered by anything, from a book she read, to a movie she watched). She doesn't care what others think of her, and declared that she was completely patient to people of all nationalities and religion. She loves to use the word "awesome". She believes in God, and goes to church. She writes poems, and believes that paper will absorb all her feelings and always understand her without ever hurting her back with words of its own. She also believes that parents can take part in making her decisions. But the final decision is hers to make.

The hit single that made the group popular is "Ya Soshla S Uma". This is a heart-wrenching song about love between two girls. It was written by a group of not-so-professional musicians, like it always is with super-hits. The second song of the group, "Ya Tvoi Vrag" was written before "Ya Soshla S Uma", but according to the group's producer, it wasn't as intense.

The writing of the song is a story on its own. Ivan Shapovalov had been searching for an original, interesting song, that could become a hit, but he found nothing more than some ordinary songs, "This is all so old, unreal." Here is what happened as a result.

The song's text was written by an NTV journalist Elena Keeper (who became one of Tatu's co-producer, and now has formed her own project "Nichya"). Valeryi Polienko, a student, helped to change the text into lyrics. The music theme was Shapovalov's idea, the rest of the music and the arrangement of the lyrics were done by Sergey Galoyan.

At some point, the song was released, and the group needed a music video. The whole process took two weeks. Only the shooting of the main scenes took three days. The clip was filmed at the very beginning of autumn on Hodynkyi field, in Moscow. For the filming of the clip, Lena had to lose 10 kilos, and Yulia had to cut her hair and dye it black. Yulia and Lena were freezing to death during the filming, which one could easily see in the music clip itself. In the video, the girls appear to be totally isolated from the world. At first, they don't know what's happening. But towards the end of the clip, they cry out that they are not dependent on what the world thinks of them, and they leave it all behind by walking away. In the end, it turns out that they've shut out the world, and not vice-versa. After the release of the clip, there were insane amounts of news concerning homosexual love and the group itself.

The image of two teenage lesbians was very remarkable. The girls were forbidden to talk to the press and give autographs.

"Autographs are allowed only to bus drivers, bodyguards, airport staff, police, train staff, producer's friends and families, but not too many. Exclude such emotional and detailed words, such as: with love, dear, very, myself, with best wishes, for memory etc. They were to sign autographs as follows:
Lena Katina - sign - Tatu - date
Yulia Volkova - sign - Tatu
The name of the fan can be added."

During the press conferences and interviews, the girls were told to: "Answer briefly, and not to use slang. Lena can interrupt, and ignore. Don't talk about music, about literature--Yulia should not talk about it, she hates reading. Lena--don't talk about her favorite books. Ignore the questions about sexual orientation, about sexual activities, about day plans, and about living together.

"Remind the girls before each interview that this is their job, and they should not act tired, even if they are. They should at least talk actively for the first 20 minutes of the interview. Then the girls can announce to the journalists that they are tired. In any case, the reason should be supplied. The rest of the interview/press conference can be taken over by Leonid (Tatu's ex-producer)."

December 19, 2000. This was the day of the first press conference for Tatu, which was organized in the secondary school № 1113 in Moscow, not far from the metro station "Pushkinskaya". During the press conference, Tatu officially presented their first single "Ya Soshla S Uma". The single contained the original "Ya Soshla S Uma", 4 remixes and 2 video clips. 50 000 official copies of the single were sold, which meant that about 200 000 pirate copies were sold as well.

Tatu spent several months in studio to record their debut album. They rarely performed in clubs at the same time, preparing to shock Russia with their new album.

May 16, 2001. Tatu opfficially signed a contract with Universal Music Russia in "Radisson-Slavyanskaya" hotel. They agreed to release 3 albums, one of which was "200 po Vstriechnoy".

May 21, 2001. The release of Tatu's first album "200 po Vstriechnoy". On the same day, a new clip from Tatu, "Nas Ne Dogonyat", appeared on TV screens. By the way, the song that took the Tatu girls the longest to record was, in fact, "Nas Ne Dogonyat". It took them one whole week. The fans were more then happy. The album contained 11 songs:
01. Zachem Ya
02. Ya Soshla S Uma
03. Nas Ne Dogonyat (Video)
04. Doschitai Do Sta
05. 30 Minut
06. Ya Tvoi Vrag
07. Ya Tvoya Ne Pervaya
08. Robot
09. Malchik Gay
10. Nas Ne Dogonyat (HarDrum Remix)
11. 30 Minut (HarDrum Remix)

During the first month of its release, the album sold over 500 thousand copies (over 2 million pirate CDs and cassettes). All together, during 2001, the album sold over 2 million legal copies (over 4 million illegal).

Tatu also started to tour Russia. Daily concerts. The same program was used for over 2 years:

"First two songs should be performed in "Ya Soshla S Uma" costumes (Lena cannot wear sandals).
1. Remix "Ya Soshla S Uma"--for preparation, without the girls.
2. "Ya Soshla S Uma" - original
3. "Zachem Ya"--Lena on the floor, Yulia near her. The tie should be torn off aggressively, and the shirt untucked quickly.

After the song, they start to undress each other, don't forget to interact with the audience--ask them, what to take off first, the shirt or the skirt, and so on. After undressing:

4. "Ya Tvoya Ne Pervaya"
5. "30 Minut"--this song lacks activity, so make tragic eyes, make faces, hug each other.
6. "Nas Ne Dogonyat"
7. "Doschitai Do Sta"
8. "Robot"

A break with a kiss competition etc.

9. "Ya Tvoi Vrag"--lower heads when not singing. The singing one must bend at least 90 degrees, otherwise there'll be no feelings.
10. "Malchik Gay"--in this song there are a few very similar movements, do them with a slight variation.
11. "30 Minut" Remix
12. "Nas Ne Dogonyat"

Then sing encore!!!

"Tatu" concerts gathered full stadiums.

June 2, 2001. Tatu received an award "100 Pound Hit" from "Hit FM". The award ceremony was performed in the Kremlin, during which Tatu performed "Ya Soshla S Uma".

June 11, 2001. "Tatu" was awarded with "The Best Hit Song" in a contest called "Musical Podium".

In June 2001, Ivan Shapovalov and Universal Music Russia shot a new video clip for Tatu's third single "30 Minut"!

In August 2001, Tatu started to record their English songs for the promo company in Europe. At first, only the choruses were supposed to be translated. The first song translated into English was, of course, "Ya Soshla S Uma". In between the concerts, being in Moscow, the girls studied very hard with the aid of an English Department professor from Moscow State University.

September 6, 2001. In New York's Metropolitan Opera House, Tatu recieved an MTV Video Music Award for "Viewers' Choice - Best Russian Video"!

Also in September 2001, Tatu released a new single, "30 Minut". The song was in very heavy rotation (30-35 times a week) on "Russian Radio", "Dinamit", "Evropa +", "Love Radio", "RDV", "HIT FM" and "Tango". All in all, the song was played over 3500 times on the radio. At the same time, the clip "30 Minut" also debuted on Russian TV. During the autumn of 2001 and winter 2001-2002, the video "30 Minut" stayed on the hit charts on TV stations, like MTV Russia and MUZ ТВ. The clip was played over 3000 times on TV. And the clip "Ya Soshla S Uma" was announced the best music video of the year by MTV Russia!

Tatu toured Russia, Belarus, and also Ukraine, Pribaltika. Then, Tatu went to Europe.

Hysteria began in Slovakia and Bulgaria--Russian song "Ya Soshla S Uma", which caressed Slavic peoples' ears with a familiar sound, went to the top of the charts a month ago and remains in the charts even today. The video for this song went to number one in Bulgaria on its first day on the airwaves, on youth music television station MM-Channel. It was ahead of, not only local bands, but Limp Bizkit, Mojio and Jennifer Lopez. But that which was the most important in the duo's career was happening--negotiations were being conducted between talented producer Ivan Shapovalov and Interscope Records' chairman.

In October 2001, the Russian single "Ya Soshla S Uma" was released in Eastern European countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland). The song climbed to the top of the national charts! The single "Nas Ne Dogonyat" was debuted in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland in November. It is also at that time that "200 po Vstriechnoy" was released in Eastern Europe.

In December 2001, "200 po Vstriechnoy" hits first place in sales charts in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria! A new stage in the group's life begins. "Tatu" wished to tame all of Europe and America by making an English album. All throughout 2001, "Tatu" toured, visiting dozens of cities and giving altogether over 150 concerts in Russia, Germany, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

In January 2002, "200 po Vstriechnoy" was accepted, by Russian division of "IFPI" (international association of phonogram producers), as the best selling album of the year!

In January 2002, "Tatu" started working on their English album. "Tatu" went to England, then America in order to begin actual studio work. In those far-off countries, Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova were surely met by a team of star producers indeed! In Manchester, the whole process was lead by F.A.F./Cap Com Productions--they produced renowned artists, such as: Sonique, Moby, Rammstein, Eskimos & Egypt, Steps--and in London, by the famous Trevor Horn! Meanwhile, Ivan Shapovalov explored the American market in sunny California.

In February 2002, Universal Music Russia decided to re-release "200 po Vstriechnoy" in Russia, in order to keep active interest in Tatu alive. The re-released album contained the original album, as well as 2 new remixes (for "Malchik Gay" and "30 Minut") and a new song, titled "Clowns". The cover design had also been changed significantly. Two different versions of the album were released: the regular version and the Limited Edition. An expanded version included, on top of everything else, the video for the song "30 Minut", and "Backstage Access" as well, with never before seen pictures of the girls. The new version was released on February 15, 2002. Re-release of the album blew away all previous records: 60 000 legal copies sold! Up till now, the number of copies sold for Tatu's "200 po Vstriechnoy" is nearing 1 100 000!

In March 2002, work on the English album continued as well as the European and Russian tours.

In April 2002, the girls received 2 gold records in Chekia--one for the number of albums sold, another one, simply out of love. "200 po Vstriechnoy" sold 10 000 copies in Chekia. The second award--from Chek television company Nova--was for Tatu's #1 position in the hit-parade. And on April 11, "Tatu" accepted the "Bed of the Year" award in the "Sex Dissidents" category. What might that be? Well, it was for people who were not afraid to embrace different sexual orientations.

In April 2002, PR agent, co-producer, songwriter and just a nice person in general, Elena Keeper left the group. The reason for her departure is still unknown. Soon Beata Andreeva--former VJ on MTV Russia--took her place. Universal Music Russia made and released to music stations two new video-remixes for the songs "Ya Soshla S Uma" and "Nas Ne Dogonyat"

On April 12, these video clips were spotted on Ukrainian music TV channel M. The clips remained unchanged, but English lyrics had been added. It also became known that plans had been made for the re-shooting of the videos due to miss-matched music tempo as well as new lyrics in the video remixes.

April 12, 2002. The girls have finished their in-studio work! They recorded a new single "Prostye Dvizhenya". The music video for the song would be coming soon.

May 8, 2002. Tatu received the "FP" Platinum Europe Award, having sold a million copies of "200 po Vstriechnoy" in Europe; the girls are now the first artists from Eastern Europe to receive this award.

May 23, 2002. The best song of the year was Tatu's "Nas Ne Dogonyat", and the girls received the "Ovaciya" award for it. Yulia and Lena received two gold medals, one for each.

May 30, 2002. Tatu presented their new clip "Prostye Dvizhenya" in the club "Marika". In the clip, one of the girls masturbate. The clip was well-made: a bit of soft erotica, childhood memories, desires, and it was bold, but with simple movements.

In June 2002, Tatu went to New York. They took part in TRL on MTV.

July 1, 2002. This was the day of the re-filming of the music video for Tatu's new single "All the Things She Said" (Ya Soshla S Uma). Only the parts where the girls sing were re-filmed. And in order to achieve the same images those of two years passed, the same plastic wall was built, painted identically to the original one, and the same fence was found. Through it, America will see Lena and Yulia kissing under the rain. The making of the rain was not a problem, but the different looks of Yulia and Lena had to be taken into consideration. Of course, make-up artists did their jobs well; Lena dyed her hair blond, and Yulia's hair was cut short. No one would ever have guessed that between two scenes in one clip, there could be two years difference!

In July 2002, the popularity of the girls finally reached Poland. First places in the charts, invitations to photo sessions, etc.

In July, the release dates of "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" and the single are announced. The song "All the Things She Said" gains its popularity in America.

In August 2002, "Tatu" was renamed t.A.T.u.

August 18, 2002. Tatu went to LA. This was not their first visit to the US. But for America, this was Tatu's first single, first music video, and first appearance as musical artists on the American market. The English album "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" would be released in December, so the girls would have a lot to do during these two weeks: work with Interscope Records, their recording company--which will release their first album--an interview with CNN, and photo sessions for teenage magazines. And this was not all, because after a week in LA, there would be another week spent in New York. And then there would be interviews for MTV and photo sessions for the press. Taking into account the amount of work they did in these two weeks, there would be material on them for a whole month.

September 10, 2002. Tatu released their debut single "All the Things She Said" in the US. The single contains 2 versions of "All the Things She Said" and two video clips: "All the Things She Said" and "Behind-the-Scenes with Yulia and Lena (Part 1)". The release of the single "All the Things She Said" in Europe was set a few days later, on September 16.

To be continued...
Translated by Katbeidar.
Please point out the source when using the material

Volkova Yulia Olegovna

Status: Vocal
D.O.B.: 20 February 1985.
Volkov Oleg Victorovich
Volkova Larissa Victorovna
Place of Birth: Moscow
Eye Color: Blue
Family Members: Mom, Dad and Me!
Favorite Color: Light Blue.
Favorite Flowers: Roses.
Favorite Auto: "BMW"! No doubt!
Favorite Meals and Drinks:
Tomato juice, and everything else!
Favorite Number: 6.
Favorite Season(s): Spring, Summer.
Childhood Dream: Singer.
Can play musical instruments:
Values in People... honesty most of all.
Music. Big tennis. Bowling.
Favorite Sport:
Tennis. Actually, I am a sports-girl!

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Katina Elena Sergeevna

Status: Vocal
D.O.B: 4th October 1984.
Katin Serget Vasilevich
Katina Inessa Vsevolodovna
Place of Birth: Moscow
Eye Color: Greenish-Grey
Family Members:
Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, Sister.
Favorite Color: Light Pink.
Favorite Flowers: Lilies.
Favorite Auto: "Audi".
Favorite Meals and Drink:
Let’s not talk about food, but my favorite drink is orange juice.
Favorite Number: Dunno...
Favorite Season(s):
Spring, summer. Actually, I like all season, they all have their bright sides.
Childhood Dream:Only a Singer!
Can play musical instrument: Piano.
Values in People...
Honesty. Kindness. Understanding.
I love to play Pool. And started to collect matches lately.
Favorite Sport: Badminton and swimming.

» More about Lena Katina